Automatische concepten

Inhabitants of the ghost town Matfield Green, Chase County, KA, who have been involved with the Pioneer Bluffs Gallery and the Centre for Living Education, have posed the question how art can contribute to the renaissance of their small community. With the arrival of national park Flint Hills in nearby Strong City, Matfield Green has become a departure point for visitors to the Flint Hills. A few of the village’s forty houses have been renovated and are let to visitors. The prairie is barren, open, and vast. While the prairie is familiar to us from cowboy-romanticism, the reality is harder and more poetic at the same time. Man retreats, partially, the beautiful ecosystem heals in this last piece of real prairie.

The proposal ‘Point of Departure’ rests on three basic principles which can support a platform for new work. In Exploration the prairie of the Flint Hills is traversed, looking for the change that has been brought by the dynamic between nature and culture. In Uncovering man-made structures that have been abandoned are cut out of photographs of the places, in order to make room for a next step. In Conceptualisation that step forward is made by going back in time and redrawing a blueprint of the abandoned structures; going back to the moment before it was built. Smoother and cleaner is impossible: a non-materialised concept, with new names. Art reclaims the reality of the structures. In Creation/Re-creation it becomes clear that the artefacts are no longer derelict, but have become the basis for a new artwork. The challenge is to reshape these artefacts so that they become instruments that enhance the contact between you and nature and culture, changing these places into situations where a new understanding of the local landscape can be attained.

Proposal Point of Departure, 2013 by Jeroen van Westen (NL), Anne Ausloos (BE), in collaboration with Bill McBride (USA) and Ton Haak (USA).

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